When one is a homeowner, peace and quiet are quite attractive qualities to have in the home, especially if one is just returning from work and wants to relax. Many homes, however, are anything but soundproof. Words carry through the walls, footsteps creak in the floors, and music can be heard from one end of the home to the other. If one has just bought a home, this can be very frustrating; one will be wondering what has to be done, and why the new home is so loud all of the time. However, one does not need to worry too much. The home may not be soundproof yet, but there are a number of things that one can do to make it that way without having to hire the job out to a professional. The following tips can improve the quality of any home.
The first thing to look for are cracks between the different levels of the home, between the walls and the ceiling. These cracks may be very small, and can go unnoticed if one does not suspect that they are there. They can also play a huge part in sound transmission in two ways. First, the sounds from other rooms can get through all of these cracks and into the next room. Second, they allow some flex and give to the ceiling and walls, meaning that anyone walking on the next floor up will be pushing down on the ceiling wherever these cracks exist. The best way to fix them is to get some caulking material. If possible, one wants to fill the cracks with some sort of sound-absorbent material first. Cotton works well for this purpose. After that, one should caulk over the cracks and holes. This will dampen all outside noise and provide for less give in the movement of the ceiling, and the creaking it makes.
One thing that lets in a lot of sound is a door. Doors have cracks all around them, as they have to in order to open. They will be the focal points for much of the sound. One way to help against this is to replace any hollow-core doors with solid-core doors. These are much thicker and heavier and will let less sound through the door itself. This is not the end of the project, though, as the cracks will still be reeking havoc with the sound absorption process. For these, one must seal around the frame. Polyurethane foam is best for this, as it expands to fill the area and give a good seal, and is available at the hardware store in a simple aerosol can. After that, one wants to apply weatherstripping to the door itself. The weather will not be a problem inside, but the stripping will cause the door and frame to seal together tightly when the door is closed, damping much of the sound.
Finally, to further help with the door, one needs to make sure it closes tightly against the floor. If the crack here is large, as it is in many old homes, the weatherstripping may not be enough on the floor even if it works on the edges. One can add a board below the door, to bring the floor up to the level of the lower edge, but this creates a hazardous step that one will have to remember when entering and exiting. A better option is to fashion a lower edge for the door itself, out of a piece of wood. This can then be glued to the bottom of the door, bringing it down toward the floor. The weatherstripping can then be put over this, securing it and reaching to the floorboards.
These are the easiest steps to take, and will help in any home. They should vastly reduce the noise level in a room. If they are not enough, doors or windows can be replaced entirely, but these do-it-yourself tips can save a lot of money.